Okay, before the jump, how about a peppy tune:
Okay, before the jump, how about a peppy tune:
Yeah, about 10 days ago, I said I was gonna have a lot to say about COVID-19 and then I got quiet instead.
Part of that was my general sense of it being fruitless to post. You see, two Fridays ago, I was feeling super-frustrated. I don’t pretend to be a huge expert or anything, but I know enough about epidemiology that I was already clocked in (right around the start of March) to understand how serious this all was.
But I wasn’t seeing a similar awareness in my surroundings—not at the local, regional, or national level.
So I was feeling increasingly tense and stressed and frustrated at my Cassandra-like status and I was in the mood for a big ol’ superiority rant. I was probably gonna link to every data scientist’s analysis I’d been reading* and yell and scream to the effect of:
Don’t you people get it!?!? This shit is REAL!
But right after my last post is when things began to sink in: locally, regionally, and federally.** And now here we are.
Since our extra-successful weekend errand running finished up so quickly, I decided to use some of that time watching movies, as well as the reading I’ve already mentioned enjoying. And, with last holiday weekend signaling the end of May, I decided to start my film selections by taking a quick look at the HBO list to see what movies are about to drop off of rotation, in case I wanted to see any of them before I lose my chance. (You may recall that’s how I started doing film reviews on here in the first place.)
There was only one movie that jumped out at me form the “departing May 31st” list, but it was a film well worth seeing: Steven Spielberg’s The Post.
This was a slight deviation from my post-pre-diabetes-diagnosis plan to focus on reading only those challenge books that were already in my possession. When I made that course correction, I’d forgotten that right at the start of 2019 I’d put my name on the waiting list for the library’s e-book copy of this title.
So, when my name finally reached the top of the list a couple weeks ago, I decided just to roll with destiny and give myself the pleasure of reading this. (A bird in the hand and all that…)
I’d already had Cooper’s memoir/social analysis on my reading wish list since mid-2018, on the basis of the good press and positive reviews the work was getting. In complete candor, for all that I went into my 2019 planning with the supposed goal of drawing primarily from my own library, this was a title I wanted to shoehorn onto my 2019 list, come hell or high water.
Lucky for me, it wasn’t all that hard to find a place for Cooper’s book. Between the callout to the New York Public Library staff picks and the invocation of celebrity recommendations, I was golden.(1)
We had one main project for the holiday weekend, but we were able to wrap it up so quickly yesterday that I’ve had some extra-luxurious reading time on my Saturday and Sunday. Which means that after a long dry spell, I’ve finished yet another book—this one, the latest choice from my fat activist/HAES/body love reading list.
Sonya Renee Taylor and her radical self-love/liberationist platform, The Body is Not an Apology, has been on my radar for some years now. I think it was my friend Alice who first brought Sonya into my awareness. Even if I’m misremembering this detail, I am going to stand by this poetic retelling for the rest of my days. There is something so just and sacred and fitting in a poet of Alice’s caliber bringing me to learn about a poet of Sonya’s caliber.
So as soon as Sonya’s book was released last year, I bought myself a copy. And then I let it sit on my bookshelves with all the other body love/goddess power books I’ve been ignoring in my quest to be super smart and fulfill all these reading challenges.
My decision to abandon reading challenge perfection in 2019 to make more room for actively self-nurturing titles put Sonya’s book back on the priority list, and then a guest teacher call with Sonya as part of the Mastery curriculum put this at the very top of that list.
Golly! It has been a year and a day since I last posted here.
Well, I suppose that’s a bit hyperbolic(1): it’s been closer to two weeks. Still, that’s a long darn time to be inactive, especially when compared to the rest of 2019.
What can I say? Travel kicked my ass, the weekend workshop kicked my ass(2), re-entry kicked my ass. I have been seriously crawling into bed as early as I can every evening since I got home. Tonight is the first night I feel remotely awake enough at 20:15 to put hands to keyboard.
At least I did have some time to finish one of my challenge books during these days away from JALC: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell.
This book also continues my unintentional tour of Man Booker prize books—although Cloud Atlas was only a finalist for the prize, as compared to the two prizewinners (Wolf Hall and Luminaries) I read earlier this year. Still kind of funny, how I keep choosing books for other reasons and still keep tripping over this particular group of prize-winners.
Because my initial response Abducted in Plain Sight cannot be summed up in any other way except with unending expressions of horror and the following declaration:
What the fuck did I just watch?
I had such virtuous plans for my weekend: I was gonna clean the house, do more decluttering, do some private journalling, and begin building some reading momentum.
Instead, I spent most of yesterday in an exhausted blue funk. Not sure how much of that was just the build-up from a long week of work—both work work and my new side gig. Some piece of the exhaustion was just that, for damn sure. And the blue unmotivated feeling may have been as simple as my system reacting to a stretch of efforting and saying
I don’t care how virtuous and self-caring your Saturday goals are, we want a goddamn day off!
So mostly what I did with my Saturday was cuddled the dog, caught up on some DVR’ed stuff, and watched a couple of movies.
Well this book was less of a tome than my previous two, so I was able to finish it more quickly than my last read. It was also a bit breezier in content and tone. Don’t get me wrong: my snooty ex-academic cred is still maintained insofar as the book was tagged as a “must read of the week” by good old NPR.
This is yet another one of my impulse discount e-book purchases, but this one from long enough ago that I actually have it as a iBook rather than a Kindle file.(1) It’s a cinematic novel about cinema and Hollywood, but its opening—and most thematically important—setting of a fictional Cinque Terre village in Italy allows me to check off the latter criterion for this challenge category.
Sometimes, my old habits towards isolationism—nurtured over many school years of feeling generally misfit and outcast—give me the sense of moving through my life with as much of an observational, anthropological perspective as a fully engaged one.(1)
I am particularly aware of this tendency as regards the different cultures and traditions of different lived communities. During my childhood, we bounced from the west coast to New England, to South America, the U.S. midwest and then New Jersey. Then, after college, I shifted between urban life—the heart of Philly—and our current suburban Massachusetts home.
With all those different places and lived environments, I now and again find myself surprised when I finally see some phenomenon I’ve heard about with my own eyes.
Such as this fortnight’s plastic flamingos.